ECONOMY

Major international interest in the country’s bad-loan market

major-international-interest-in-the-country-s-bad-loan-market

The liberalization of the sale of nonperforming loans has resulted in a large number of companies, both Greek and foreign, getting ready to apply to the Bank of Greece for operating licenses.

Meanwhile, Greek banks and foreign ventures have already started looking for and hiring staff to work in this particular area, generating jobs as the credit sector keeps shrinking. The first ads have already been published and there are signs of great interest at recruitment agencies such as Korn Ferry.

Alpha Bank will be forming a consortium with Aktua Soluciones Financieras and is seeking to recruit senior officials. This is also the case with other local lenders that are already licensed to operate in the NPL market. Eurobank, for instance, is considering undertaking a large share of the domestic market.

Besides Aktua, there also are several major investment funds that are interested in entering the Greek NPL market. These include Kaican LLP from Britain, Apollo from the US (either directly or via subsidiaries) and Spain’s Altamira, which will likely aim at the market of corporate loans. Local debt collection companies such as Kyklos, Mellon and Matrix will also consider their participation in the NPL management ventures, as they do not want to see their market share go to foreign players in its entirety.

Other major players in talks with Greek banks for a possible involvement mainly in the large corporate loan segment are Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), LoneStar, Fortress, Oaktree Capital and Blackstone. Credit M is already in Greece managing part of Citibank’s portfolio of consumer loans and inactive credit cards, sold in early 2014.

As the bad-loan market will also use refinancing for companies deemed able to recover, interest has also been expressed by foreign banks. Two of them are Barclays and BNP Paribas, according to well-informed sources, while a long series of sectors, stretching from law and consultancy firms to call centers will get involved in the secondary NPL market in Greece.

Over 100 companies attended an event held a few days ago by the Bank of Greece and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on the sale of NPLs.